Here’s the scene… You land at Jakarta airport (important detail here: The OLD airport) and it’s pushing midnight, it’s Eid and you’ve been up for a total of 26 hours. You’re simultaneously cursing yourself for not just booking that connecting flight to Bali but at the same time you’re just looking forward to checking in to your hotel after 3 hellish flights.

“I’ll just buy a local SIM card and book a Grab,” you say to yourself with whimsical naivety. The aforementioned “Eid at midnight” now comes into sharp focus and here begins the preview of next week’s story “The scammer taxi ride from hell through the streets of Jakarta” but I digress.

Now that was many years ago and I’ve learnt my lesson since that near-death taxi experience. The lesson: always get an International SIM before you travel and even better, get a good one! An international SIM cards will be there for you, whatever trouble you decide to get yourself in!

So I’m here to give an honest review of OneSim and check out whether their service lives up to the hype and how they stack up against some big competition.

Right then, should I explain how all this actually works then, better had!

onesim card for travellers

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Yo-Yo… We appreciate you reading our deep and dedicated OneSim review! However we will tell you right now that unless you need a physical sim, you should head over to GigSky or JetPac both of who offer better deals.

Check Out Jetpac

Who Are OneSim?

OneSim is a US-based company who have been around since 1994, which, if you can or want to believe it, is 30 years this year. Oh lawd!

They specialise in providing international SIM cards across multiple countries around the world. Whether you’re an international backpacker, business jet setter or just popping away on vacay, there is an option for both data and calls.

person trying to connect to an esim while sitting on a living room couch
Waiting for my GoJek food order like …
Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

OneSim is unique in that they not only provide traditional international SIM cards (as in, physical SIM cards) they have also recently branched out into the world of eSims. With this dual service, they are also able to provide some hybrid services. However, they’re not without their faults and their prices are pretty steep.

What Do OneSim Offer?

OneSim offers a range of different services, some of which I’ve never seen before. However, despite offering a variety of products, I still have a few reservations and they are far from the best travel SIM provider right now. If you wanna know who is, then be sure to check out GigSky!

As I’ve previously mentioned, OneSim offers a range of different SIM cards as their primary services. These range from physical SIM cards such as their “OneSimCard Universal” which provides data and calls in over 50 countries and free incoming calls in 200 countries. To their “DataMax eSIM” which is a virtual SIM card offering data coverage in 170+ countries.

Additional services I’m not reviewing here, but just wanted to throw out there include international cell phone rental, corporate SIM cards for businesses and M2M communication & data packages.

How OneSim Works

Ok, So this can be broken down into two sections, their international SIM card and their eSim.

International SIM

Their international SIM cards are a physical card that needs to be ordered online and delivered to you in person. These are prepaid SIM cards that offer free incoming calls from most countries and charge a flat rate for outgoing calls and data usage.

These can be topped up or you can purchase daily/weekly and monthly packages. They also offer two phone numbers for you to use, an EU one and another of your choice which includes the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

eSim

Their eSims are digital SIM cards that are instantly delivered upon purchase. These offer data-only packages as well as a package that offers international calls at the same rate as their physical SIM card.

These eSims can be used alongside your existing SIM card, allowing the use of two providers at the same time. They are available in daily/weekly and monthly packages. However, I have found that their rates aren’t overly competitive and when it comes to the best eSims for travel I would have to opt instead for GigSky.

What Packages Do OneSim Offer?

OneSim Card offers the following packages:

Physical SIM cards

OneSimCard Universal
  • 3-in-1 SIM size – Mini, Micro and Nano Sizes
  • Includes 2 numbers: Europe & USA, Canada, UK or Australia
  • 4G services in 50+ countries; 5G available
  • Direct dial in 50+ countries and callback dial in other countries.
  • Coverage in over 200 countries
  • Voice mail service with free delivery to email
  • Free incoming calls received on EU number in 120+ countries. Outgoing calls from 25c/min
  • Live Technical Support
  • Free shipping to the U.S. on orders over $50/ Canada on orders over $100
  • International shipping from $4.99
OneSimCard Expedition
  • Universal SIM size SIM card – Mini, Micro and Nano Size
  • Fits all GSM phones including iPhones
  • Coverage in 200+ countries
  • Internet Data Coverage in over 170 countries; 4G/5G available
  • Mobile data service from 2c/MB
    Bi-Weekly/Monthly packages available
  • Voice mail service with free delivery to email
  • Includes 2 numbers: Europe & USA, Canada, UK or Australia
    Add numbers in 60+ other countries
  • Free incoming calls received on EU number in over 130 countries
  • Live Technical Support
  • Free shipping to the U.S. on orders over $50/ Canada on orders over $100
  • International shipping from $4.99

eSim’s

DataMax eSIM
  • Virtual second SIM card (eSIM)
  • Make your compatible unlocked device a dual SIM phone
  • Works with many Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung and other devices
  • Coverage in 170+ countries
  • Add Personal Extra Numbers (PENs) in 60+ other countries for use with OneSim VoIP
  • Mobile data service from 0.003c/MB
  • Voice and Text available with OneSIM VoIP app
  • Bi-Weekly/Monthly data discount plans
  • Perfect for travelers worldwide
  • Live Customer Support
  • No shipping. eSIM available for “download and go.”
OneSimCard eSIM World
  • Virtual second SIM card (eSIM)
  • Make your compatible unlocked phone a dual SIM phone
  • Works with many Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung and other devices
  • Coverage in 150+ countries with free incoming calls received on EU number in most of them
  • Includes 1 number: Europe. Add extra numbers in 60+ other countries
  • Mobile data service from 1c/MB; 4G/5G available
  • Data, Voice and Text. Extra savings available with OneSIM VoIP app
  • Bi-Weekly/Monthly data discount plans
  • Perfect for travelers worldwide
  • Live Customer Support
  • No shipping. Download eSIM and go.
OneSimCard eSIM Asiana
  • Virtual second SIM card (eSIM)
  • Make your compatible unlocked phone a dual SIM phone
  • Works with many Apple iPhone, Google Pixel, Samsung and other devices
  • Coverage in over 35 countries
  • Includes 1 number: Europe. Add extra numbers in 60+ other countries
  • Mobile data service from 1c/MB; 4G/5G available
  • Data and Text. Voice is available with OneSIM VoIP app
  • Monthly data discount plans
  • Perfect for travelers in select countries.
  • Live Customer Support
  • No shipping. Download eSIM and go.

Does OneSim Offer Local Phone Numbers? “Can I make a call using OneSim

Yes! You can basically add as many “Personal Extra Numbers (PENs)” to your account as you like… for a fee which depends on which country and for how long. It’s worth noting that for certain countries you will need proof of residency if that law is applicable in that particular country.

This is available on all plans other than the “DataMax eSIM“.

Which Destinations Do OneSim Cover?

Each SIM offers a different amount of coverage. As a broad stroke, OneSim covers 170+ countries, but the specifics of each service are below:

  • DataMax eSIM: 170+
  • Universal SIM: 140+
  • Expedition SIM: 140+
  • eSIM: 140
  • eSIM Asiana: 30+

It’s worth noting that there are roughly 196 countries in the world, so it’s likely the packages offering between 140-170 will cover your destination if it’s one of the more common places to travel to.

The Asiana eSIM covers a smaller region and so offers a limited amount of countries, but it does include places like Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Korea, USA and Canada to name just a few. So, it’s pretty ideal for backpackers in particular.

Having said this, I do prefer how GigSky offers much better refined regional and world packages. Not only that but I find the specific information as to which countries are included a lot easier to come by on GigSky, whereas OneSim requires a lot more digging and searching.

Holding a phone out to take a photo of some rice paddies in Bali, Indonesia.
Making sure I can get those Indonesia rice fields all up on the ‘gram!
Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

Cost

Unsurprisingly, the cost varies depending on what type of SIM/ eSIM package you choose. Unlike other eSIM providers, OneSim card offers an upfront fee and then charges by the minute for calls and per MB for data with bi-weekly and monthly packages available. In this way, it’s much more similar to your standard phone plan but is very different to many other eSIM providers.

Personally, it’s not the way I would like to pay for my data. I much prefer the packages offered by providers like GigSky where you pay for a certain number of GB over a certain number of days. I find it much clearer and easier to keep track of.

The cost for each SIM/ eSIM package is as follows:

DataMax eSIM

  • $9.95
  • W. Europe to the US calls per min: from $0.02 (SIM VOIP)
  • Data rate per MB: from $0.003

Universal SIM

  • $39.95 (Includes $10 Credit for Voice, Text and Data)
  • W. Europe to the US calls per min: from $0.29
  • Data rate per MB: from $0.01

Expedition SIM

  • $34.95 (Includes $10 Credit for Voice, Text and Data)
  • W. Europe to the US calls per min: from $0.29
  • Data rate per MB: from $0.01

eSIM

  • $9.95
  • W. Europe to the US calls per min: from $0.29
  • Data rate per MB: from $0.01

eSIM Asiana

  • $9.95
  • W. Europe to the US calls per min: N/A
  • Data rate per MB: from $0.01

How To Use OneSim’s eSim’s

OneSim

This will depend on which package you buy, but their standard SIM cards work pretty much like a regular SIM card, so there’s no need to go into details.

However, an eSIM is something that you might be relatively new to and the prospect at first might seem daunting. Never fear though, because I’m here to explain all!

In fact, if you’d like more in-depth information on eSIMs, we’ve written about that too, just check it out.

Installation and Activation

To start off you’ll need to download the “OneSimCard eSIM app” and make sure your phone is both eSIM compatible and unlocked.

Purchase your plan via their website and click on the QR code, or scan if you’re using your computer and simply follow the step-by-step instructions. I have taken them and simplified them because personally, I found them to be not only user-friendly, especially for first-time users.

  • On your phone go to Settings -> Cellular or Mobile Data -> Add Data Plan. Scan your OneSimCard eSIM QR code to start downloading the eSIM.
  • Click on “Add cellular plan”.
  • You will see the following message: “A cellular plan from Proximus or BICS is ready to be added to iPhone”.
  • A screen will appear asking you to give a name to your eSIM-card i.e. “Secondary or Travel”.
  • Another screen will appear asking you to choose a default SIM-card. Choose eSIM for DATA connection.
  • Restart the phone.
  • For data to start working on your device, please turn on Data Roaming on your phone for eSIM: Settings-Cellular (Mobile Data) menu.

I have to say that whilst the installation process is relatively similar to other eSims, it is one of the more complicated that I’ve come across, especially when compared to GigSky and in particular the instructions available online aren’t the clearest.

Monitoring Use

In order to monitor your usage you’ll need to download another app, this time it’s the “My OneSim app”. You can also log in to your account on their website.

The app and website not only allow you to see how much data and/ or minutes you’ve used, but you can also top up and manage your account from here too. This includes setting up things like call forwarding, and caller ID.

Topping Up And Extending

Topping up your account or extending your plan can be done through the “My OneSim app” or by logging into your account via their website, which is also available on mobile.

From there you can add money to your account, change your plan or extend. Though both apps are decent enough to use, however, I did find it frustrating that I had to have two different apps installed on my phone to monitor my usage and then top up. Compared to GigSky this was a real downside.

Dani capturing a moment of Harvey on the boat.
I’ll be honest, I prefer dogamarans to catamarans!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Pros and Cons of OneSim

Pros
  • Covers 170+ countries in total (depending on your plan)
  • Offers both physical SIM cards and eSIMs
  • Provides local numbers
  • Free incoming calls to the card’s EU number
  • Has a package that includes minutes and texts (not just data)

 

Cons
  • Optimised for the American market
  • The website is clunky and hard to navigate 
  • Top-up and pay per MB isn’t to everyone’s liking
  • Pricing structure isn’t as clear or simple as other providers
  • Price is much higher than other providers, like GigSky

OneSim Vs GigSky

Ok, so I’ve not been shy in the past of singing the praises of GigSky, in fact in a recent in-depth review of GigSky eSim we proclaimed them to be up there with the best of the best. So, rather than continue to beat around the bush, let’s tackle this head-on and see how they stack up against OneSim.

When it comes to ease of use it’s an easy win for GigSky. Rather than having to download two different apps like on OneSim, GigSky makes it easy to purchase, install and top up all from your phone.

Not only that but when it comes to figuring out what is included and what you’re getting for your money, the GigSky app and website make it much clearer and easier to figure out what is best for your needs. As I mentioned previously, their regional and country-specific plans are much easier to navigate and clearer to understand.

So, let’s take a look at what really matters, the money! I’ve put together two charts here comparing similar plans for different destinations and what they offer.

OneSim Prices and Data Packages:

onesim card for travellers
OneSim
  • Thailand 14 $34.95 250MB
  • Spain 14 $38.95 5GB
  • Europe 14 $38.95 5GB
  • Global 14 $34.95 250MB
  • Mexico 14 $34.95 250MB
  • Italy 14 $38.95 5GB

Now let’s have a look at how GigSky stacks up against OneSim.

GigSky Prices and Data Packages:

Gigsky-branded
Gigsky
  • Thailand 15 $14.99 3GB
  • Spain 15 $10.99 3GB
  • Europe 15 $13.99 3GB
  • Global 30 $69.99 5GB
  • Mexico 15 $15.99 3GB
  • Italy 15 $10.99 3GB

So, what do you think? How do you reckon OneSim ranks against our favourite provider, GigSky?

Personally, looking at ease of use combined with price, I have to say that for me, GigSky takes the trophy here. From my experience, I have used GigSky across multiple different destinations and regions and never had an issue. I’ve always found them to offer great value for money and to provide an excellent service. To add to that, GigSky also has packages for in-air and cruise ship connectivity.

Instead, I found OneSim far less intuitive when it comes to figuring out costs, what’s included in each package as well as their installation instructions. Their website is difficult to navigate and having to switch between two apps can be frustrating. That’s before I even get into how much more OneSim costs!

Final Thoughts

Alright folks, there you have it. Hopefully, I’ve given you the lowdown on what OneSim offers. When it comes to selecting a SIM card for travelling the decision is up to you. Whether you consider the benefits of OneSim to outweigh the negatives depends on what you’re looking for in particular. But for me, I still have to come back to GigSky and its superior prices, ease of use and the ability to use my phone whilst flying or cruising.

I know, it’s enthralling stuff that just whisks you away with the magic of travel! Ok, so maybe talking about eSims isn’t the most exciting topic, but you know what is, being able to call your Mum from the top of a mountain in New Zealand.

At the very least, here’s to a safe and budget-friendly airport transfer ordered via whichever ride-sharing app is popular in your next destination.

Get set for your next adventure with our EPIC resources!